Federal Budget 2012: New $30 million manufacturing innovation centre unveiled

A $29.8 million Manufacturing Technology Innovation Centre will bring together researchers and manufacturers in a bid to supercharge Australia’s embattled manufacturing industry, the government has announced.


The centre will aim to create, foster and leverage industrial design, engineering and product development via leading-edge technologies, business processes and technical know-how.


The MTIC will use existing Enterprise Connect infrastructure to provide grants for projects, and will call on expert bodies to provide tailored advice to individual firms.


A total of $3.9 million has been allocated for 2012-13, followed by $6.5 million in 2013-14, $9.4 million in 2014-15 and $10 million in 2015-16.


“This investment will boost innovation in the manufacturing sector for the future,” Greg Combet, Minister for Industry and Innovation, said in a statement.


“This initiative will build on the government’s existing business capability programs, and help businesses realise new market opportunities, particularly in the Asian market.”


The initiative will involve the creation of a small number of sectoral collaborations involving major manufacturers, SMEs, public research agencies and universities.


Industry collaborations will also be able to call on Austrade, the Industrial Transformation Research Program, and the Australian Manufacturing Technology Institute Limited.


According to the government, the centre will provide examples of best practice to the rest of industry, and will work to “champion the diffusion of innovation across sectors”.


The initiative builds on the government’s $34 million manufacturing package announced at last year’s budget.


The $34.4 million “Buy Australian at Home and Abroad” initiative is aimed at helping manufacturers that have been hit by economic uncertainty and the high Australian dollar.


The money is being used to employ “supplier advocates” across different industry sectors to identify international opportunities for Australian manufacturers.


Meanwhile, through the Prime Minister’s Taskforce on Manufacturing, the government is developing a roadmap for manufacturing in Australia over the next decade.


According to the government, this will include a strong focus on improving management and workforce skills to help manufacturing “move up the value chain”.


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